June 6, 2022
Elise Archer, Secretary of State for Corrections and Rehabilitation
The 2022-23 State Budget strengthens Tasmania’s future with important investments in our prison system that will help protect our communities and staff while providing offenders with more opportunities for rehabilitation.
We want to make sure everyone serving a sentence has the tools they need to be rehabilitated and successfully reintegrate into the community, and we invest to ensure that happens.
The budget provides an additional $500,000 for new literacy programs that will help offenders improve their functional literacy and provide a strong foundation for more job opportunities after release.
This investment will support an expanded literacy program delivery model at the Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) that will provide greater access to all detention facilities and will include an assessment of individual literacy needs and the delivery of programs tailored to those specific needs.
Current literacy programs are already delivering results, with the number of annual withdrawals from the Risdon Library increasing significantly over the past four years, from 6435 in 2018-19 to 8775 between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022, but with our strong focus on rehabilitation, we know that this needs to be further improved.
TPS’ existing partnership with Libraries Tasmania provides prisoners with learning, information and literacy support, with Libraries Tasmania staff and a literacy coordinator based in the prison’s education and library areas.
This year, Libraries Tasmania is also testing the use of tablets for literacy work and is looking at ways to increase inmate digital literacy opportunities.
In addition, the Prison Education Computer Network gives inmates access to a range of applications, digital tools and resources within the prison. Inmates can also write and print letters/course reviews, conduct offline research, contact services within the prison, and access a wide range of educational and recreational activities and resources.
Encouragingly, an interagency IT working group has been working to expand, improve and upgrade the Prisoner Computer Network and computer fleet, expanding it at Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison with four new computers in a central computer lab, as well as computers being installed in the Vanessa Goodwin Cottages with minimum security.
The O’Hara units at Ron Barwick’s minimum security prison have also recently been fitted with a computer in each cottage.
This year, the Prison Education Computer Network will also offer improved access to legal resources by providing a Legal Resource Center hosted on the network.
This will be implemented as part of the opening of the Southern Remand Center, but will serve all inmates at all locations, as well as those housed at the Southern Remand Center.
Rehabilitation remains a key priority and I look forward to the new and expanded programs that our additional funds will provide.
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